The Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has described governors opposing full-fledged autonomy for the operations of the 774 local governments in the county as enemies of the masses.
NULGE said Nigeria’s hydra-headed problems of train attacks, killings, unemployment, hunger, kidnappings, insurgency and drug abuse being perpetrated by youth would be tackled with a functional and responsive local government system.
The NULGE President, Ekiti chapter, Comrade Babatunde Olatunde spoke in Ado Ekiti, on Monday, at a media parley to galvanise support for the passage of the Local Government Autonomy Bill pending before State Assemblies.
Olatunde at the event posited that LGs all over the world are regarded as development centres, regretting that the springboards had been destroyed by state governors due to selfishness and personal aggrandizement.
He said: “Governors opposing full autonomy for our774 councils were doing so for selfish reasons and I consider them as enemies of the people, enemies of our nation”.
The NULGE boss added further; “Bible says when the foundation is destroyed, what would the righteous do. The local government system has been relegated. No wonder our youth are engaging in ritual killings, banditry, kidnappings, ‘yahoo yahoo’ because the foundation upon which we are built had been destroyed.
The continued challenges of insecurity, insurgency, and corruption are largely traced to the systematic destruction of the local governments. All these social vices staring us in the face were not there before 1999. The only antidote to all these is local government autonomy.
It is high time the cord connecting LG to states be cut off, so that they can enjoy financial autonomy to be able to meet the needs of the people”.
He posited that qualitative education, infrastructure facelift, peace and youth employment that had eluded the country could only be restored if LGs are granted administrative and financial autonomy like the judiciary sector.
Enough of not respecting the tenure of council officials, enough of LGs not having the full financial benefit of their monthly allocations. 75 percent of the people live in the rural areas and that should be a basis for our councils to be fully operational.
The bill is now at the doorstep of the Houses of Assembly, we are crying loud and clear that they should pass it in the interest of over 75 percent living in the rural areas. They should come to the aid of Nigerians. We are not here talking about salary increment, but talking about how to fix Nigeria”.
The parley was attended by NULGE officials, local government staff, representatives of the physically challenged, traditional chiefs, market men and women, among others.